CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California’s (CFHL, UC) Youth Engagement Initiative is exploring innovative strategies to engage youth in nutrition and physical activity. Projects within this initiative seek to empower young people from vulnerable communities to lead efforts that improve the environments where they live, play, eat, shop, and learn.
The Youth Engagement Initiative embraces core youth development principles, as well as USDA SNAP-Ed Guidance that employ policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change activities – such as multi-level interventions and community and public health approaches – in addition to providing direct nutrition education. CFHL, UC recognizes that youth who would be impacted by those PSE changes should be involved in identifying, planning, implementing, and evaluating the change interventions themselves. The goal of this initiative is to build the capacity of youth to contribute to PSE changes that help make the healthy choice the easy and preferred choice, while developing their leadership abilities, sense of self-efficacy, civic engagement, and college and career readiness.
The partnership between CalFresh Healthy Living, UC, UC 4-H Youth Development Program, and the UC Davis Center for Regional Change aims to support local CFHL, UC programs in moving from serving and educating SNAP-Ed eligible youth to engaging and enlisting young people as leaders in the delivery of direct nutrition education and PSE change efforts, as well as youth-led participatory action research (YPAR). This initiative also offers youth leaders service-learning opportunities and career exploration pathways.
Exploring Youth Engagement in Other Initiatives
Evaluation and Reporting
CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California
Kelley Brian - Youth Engagement Community Education Specialist
Brandon Louie - Community Engagement Coordinator